[Question #7646] Stressed again, new situation.

12 days ago
Hello Experts,
So sorry to feel the need to come back again with new situation and new questions (after qst number 7631.)
After your reassuring answers I started to move on and forget about HIV to prepare my wedding. I unfortunately had a terrible gum pain just next to the wisdom tooth. So I went to the dentist for a simple consultation (was the first time in my life cuz I had never teethache) to check what's happening with my wisdom teeth and also discuss the repititive mouth Ulcers with him (he said almost certainly from stress). 
He used for the consultation one tool (I think its name is dental explorer ). He started to touch my infected area (was red and a bit inflated and hurts with it (i felt it was sharp but it didn't make me bleed when it touched me). 
Now I'm wondering what if this tool was not well sterilized or not sterilized at all (as they were already on the table when I came in) 
Four days after this visit, I started to feel the beginning of my tongue red and burn a bit) 
Please I'm lost again, help me sir 
1- is there any risk from this dentist visit? If the dental explorer was not sterilized. 
2- my wedding is planned in the next two days, the stress is getting more and more worse. May i have unprotected sex with my wife after this dentist exposure? 
3-are my burning red tongue sign of ARS? May ARS start after 4 days? 
4- or may it be ARS after blood withdrawal (when the nurse dropped the first needle and change it)? now 17 days have passed. 
5- scientifically, can a dental explorer transmit HIV if it touch my infected gums without bleeding? 
So sorry for this silly question, I'm really afraid and stressed to hurt my wife. Please help me and assess my situation. 
Many thanks in advance. 

H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
12 days ago
I'm sorry you felt the need to return. At the conclusion of our previous discussion, I pointed out the obvious underlying psychological issues here:  that you obviously are obsessed with fear about HIV from risk situations that mentally healthy people never worry about; and that such obsessions never clear up just from learning the facts about risks, transmission, etc; no amount of questions and answers on this or any other forum are going to be very helpful. Therefore, I am sure that even after I answer these questions, your fears will remain. All we can do is repeat the facts and our science-based opinions, advice, and reassurance. The rest is up to you.

1. Nobody has ever caught HIV during a dental procedure, except for a case a quarter century ago, in which a deranged dentist with HIV injected several of his patients with his own blood, giving them AIDS. There was absolutely no risk of HIV from your recent dental visit.

2. You can safely have sex with your wife.

3. ARS doesn't cause such symptoms.

4. We discussed the absence of risk from having blood drawn in your previous thread. I haven't changed my mind.

5. There conceivably could be risk if the dentist had used the instrument on another patient within the preceding 1-2 minutes. Of course that did not happen.


If these sorts of fears continue, I do hope you will seek professional counseling. These sorts of fears are seriously abnormal. I suggest counseling from compassion, not criticism. In the meantime, best wishes for your upcoming wedding and for a successful, romantic marriage. 


11 days ago
Hello Doctor,

Many thanks for your answers and your wishes. i'm trying my best to forget all this before my wedding (you were very helpful to me, you are an angle, thank you!! ). 
those are probably my last questions before my wedding, please doctor consider me as a son, and i promise you i will not fear HIV again.
i know mentally healthy people never worry about things i'm worring about, maybe because i have never done sex before or maybe because of fear of hurting my wife so i started recently to imagine risks everywhere and test several times. my problem which increase my anxiety is symptoms that's what i want to solve with you sir. 
1- could you please explain what are the ARS? when do they start (in my case after dentist started 4 days or 5 days) ? can be localized only in mouth ? i got repetitve mouth ulcers, one mouth thrush behind my tooth, and now red and burning in front of tongue and some burning inside the cheek ( left side) . some of these symptoms started before last blood draw (that's why i did the last one) and some of them staretd after the last one and some of them after dentist visit (burning in front of tongue). may it be somatization? if they are ARS, i don't really from which exposure did i get them.
2- i started yesterday (day+5 after dentist visit) to feel  pain when i swollow in the right side (i think is lymph node swollen), can it be sign of ARS? or i must to forget tottaly about symptoms?  may the ARS starts after 5 days?
3- may my symptoms be just somatization or may be because i'm searching them in my body/mouth? or maybe stress?
3- you said sir below "there was absolutely no risk of HIV from your recent dental visit" and then you said "There conceivably could be risk ..". may i understand that in my particular situation THERE WAS ABSOLUTLY, TOTALLY, UTTERLY no risk ?? please note that the instrument used was sharpd but not hollow. he didn't inject it in my infected gum. he was just touching it.
4- if i get the typical HIV ARS in the few next days (after my dental visit) i should never think about HIV? that's correct? 
5- should i never test again ? forget about testing and never have it again ? in spite of the symptoms ?
6- If you were in my situation sir, i mean you visited a dentist in an underdeveloped country (north africa) and you didn't see him sterilize the instrument. what would you do sir? would you ever think about HIV? would you test? 
this will cover all my worries, i don't think i will have more qst after those above.  please sir help me and forgive me for my questions. i will focus only on my wedding and cut off internet after your final answers. i want to be happy with my wedding :(
many thanks in advance.
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
11 days ago
1-3) ARS symptoms start 8-20 days after infection, never sooner. The most common symptoms are fever, sore throat, skin rash, and often skin rash. Occasional diarrhea, headache, and sores in the mouth. Your symptoms are not suggestive of ARS. Somatization indeed may explain some of your symptoms.
3) I have nothing more to say on this. Re-read my comments above. Of course nobody can say there is TOTALLY UTTERLY no possibility of HIV transmission during dental procedures. But it never happens as far as known.
4) You will not get such symptoms. If you do, see a doctor.
5) I have already said you need no testing and I haven't changed my mind!
6) If I were in this situation, I would have no cause to worry and I would not do anything at all.

Really, settle down. Focus on your marriage. I hope this discussion has helped you do that. Also, please note the forum does not permit repeated questions on the same topic or exposure. This being your second, it will have to be your last one; future new questions about your visit to the dentist and other circumstances described in this and your previous thread, HIV testing, and your fears about HIV will receive no reply and the posting fee will not be refunded. This policy is based on compassion, not criticism, and to reduce temptations to keep paying for questions with obvious answers. In addition, experience shows that continued answers tend to prolong users' anxieties rather than reducing them. Finally, such questions have little educational value for other users, one of the forum's main purposes. Thanks for your understanding.